Face-to-face and phone communication is fading fast. We work, love, and live by writing. From emails and activity reports to social media posts and performance reviews, the written word is everywhere. And executives say writing proficiency represents one the biggest skill gaps in the workforce—more and more people are writing with less and less training.
The good news? Great writing skills will give you the edge for career advancement. Here are six differences between good and great business writers.
- Structure - Good writers may organize, draft, think, and re-organize in whatever way works best for each project. They may be able to create a well-written document, but it takes them quite a while to accomplish it. Great writers have a repeatable system. They typically spend as much time thinking about their writing project as they do actually drafting it.
- Word Choice - Good writers select clear words. They avoid ambiguous phrasing that can have different meaning for various readers. Great writers choose precise words. They tickle the ear with eloquent phrasing so they their sentences beg to be re-read.
- Conciseness - Good writers get to the point. Great writers get to the point, but never sacrifice clarity for the sake of brevity. They know that, in most cases, less is definitely more.
- Grammar - Good writers consider grammar important. They want to get things right. They know when sentences sound right. Great writers, on the other hand, understand the link between grammar and clarity and, ultimately, overall effectiveness. They know the grammatical rules and insist on enforcing them, but they also know which rules are essential and which are merely matters of style.
- Tone - Good writers convey their message, even a sensitive email about a negative situation, in a clear, straightforward style. Great writers also communicate their message in a clear, straightforward style, but with an upbeat, conversational warmth.
- Edit - Good writers edit their work to spot weaknesses. Great writers rarely trust themselves to edit their own work. In the end, their objective is always to produce their best possible work.
The amount of time, work, and skill enhancement it takes to progress from being a good to a great business writer is often not as monumental as you may think. But the dividends definitely are. Make the investment and reap the benefits.